Surya Siddhanta the basis of space studies, says Governor

The ancient Indian treatise Surya Siddhanta served as the basis for ‘all space studies’ in Europe, Governor Arif Mohammad Khan said on Friday, pointing out that Indians have become oblivious to their traditions.

''We have become so unfamiliar with our ethos. The result is that scientific references in our books have been reduced to myth in our minds,’’ the Governor said, presenting the Sree Chithira Thirunal National Award 2019 to K. Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Surya Siddhanta, a text on astronomy written in Sanskrit, was presented in the court of Al-Mansur, the second Caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, along with certain other texts. Fascinated by its content, the Caliph had ordered the Arab scholar and astronomer Muhammad Al-Fazari to get it translated into Arabic, Mr. Khan said.

The then ruler of Spain, who was not on good terms with Al-Mansur, had obtained a copy of the translation by paying a huge bribe. ''From Spain that book was translated, over a period of time, into almost all European languages. And it is admitted that this Indian book is the basis, the start, of all space studies of Europe,'' he said.

The country is grateful to scientists such as Mr. Sivan and former ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair (who was present at the function) not just for what they accomplished for it, but also for reviving the country’s traditions, the Governor said.

Former Ambassador T. P. Sreenivasan, who chairs the Sree Chithira Thirunal Trust which institutes the annual award; former State Police Chief Jacob Punnoose, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director S. Somanath, ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU) director Sam Dayala Dev and school students were among those present.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 1:46:48 PM |

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